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“I love you, but we disagree politically. I do agree, however, that the hatefulness in politics has reached a particularly nasty level."
That statement could have been made by family members, valued longtime clients and/or friends, or even, with some editing by ME to some of the same people. The speaker did give me a couple of "sweeteners" by telling me I am loved, and that we agree on a part of what I had said (the "hatefulness in politics”). However part of the sweet was taken back by saying that the “hatefulness” that admittedly permeates the political process comes from “both sides.”
Everyone agrees that the OTHER has reached a particularly nasty level of hatefulness.
I took the statement to mean that I should stay away from certain subjects when the speaker and I are interacting. But it could, theoretically, mean that our relationship is over until the elections are over.
Just how does a one decide what subjects to stay away from in conversation? Especially when the offensiveness of a particular subject may not be clear to both? What subjects are “political” –and what are NOT “political”? “Politics” is not a dirty word! Though identifying certain activities or behavior of a person as “political” these days, is not necessarily complimentary. I went to the dictionary for guidance.
The first, and primary definition of “politics” in one dictionary is the “theory and practice of government, especially the activities associated with governing, with obtaining legislative or executive power, or with forming and running organizations connected with government.” Another, additional, definition is: “the use of tactics and strategy to gain power in a group or organization.”
Consider that when a law is passed, or defeated, through a “political” process the legislative group that won is faced with implementation of the law, and those defeated are faced with minimizing the ‘damages’ the law will supposedly impose. Tactics and strategies are devised to implement the law, and to block its implementation. Neither the winner nor the loser is obligated to sit back with hands folded (and mouth closed) and do nothing.
Compare what happens, in a household context, when young teens disagree with the rules imposed by parents on their activities, or their choice of friends. In many, if not most, families, there is a four or five year POLITICAL tug of war between the teens (i.e., ages 13-18) and the parents –with both sides having to weigh the ramifications of particular strategies for imposing his or her will.
In the family, and social/political situations, it doesn't seem to be easy to work through strategies to resolve disputes, without moving into a hateful environment. It may take a special kind of talent. But as a general rule, whatever the strategy that is chosen it is important that communications between opposing parties remain truthful, and kind. ALL of the truth usually doesn't have to be spoken and shared relationships have value and are worth nurturing.
Posted by Peggy S. Hedrick at 10:52am
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Well said! And, BTW, I love you and agree with you (not for posting of course if it might offend someone!)!
Posted by Kay Hedrick on 7/30/2012 at 9:30am